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World Heart 2020: beating CVD, facing COVID-19

18 Dec 2020

Dear Friends,

A year like no other is behind us. The entire world – our governments, economies, and societies – has been tested like never before in our lifetimes. Faced with a global threat and many unknowns, we spent the past ten months fighting the virus and protecting the cardiovascular health of people everywhere. We came together as one community, a knowledgeable and caring world heart. You can read our 2020 End of Year Review here.

COVID-19 created a “perfect storm” for heart disease. We realised this at the very beginning of the outbreak, and we built an entire support system and knowledge platform to provide the latest information, advice, and communications to our Members, Partners and the larger cardiovascular community. We mobilised resources, skills, and most importantly our unwavering commitment to heart health, to ensure that the most vulnerable among us are protected and are able to access the care and treatment they need to survive this crisis.

We had our first-ever entirely digital World Congress of Cardiology, jointly with our Members the American College of Cardiology, which brought the latest cardiovascular science and education straight to your doorsteps. We then turned the attention of the wider world to our thought-leadership series: Rethinking the Future of the Cardiovascular Workforce, which explored the potential of digital health and artificial intelligence. Once again, our role was to ensure that as ideas transform into concrete decisions and actions, we are putting the equity of treatment and care at the heart of it all.

We are proud that as the global cardiovascular, member-based organisation we managed to also embark on a COVID-19 and CVD research journey, mobilising our network to help us better understand the link between cardiovascular disease and COVID-19. In a very short span of just four months we have already reached the milestone of 1000 patients recruited from 22 participating hospitals around the world.

We invite you to take a detailed look at our 2020 universe and see what the major themes for WHF were in a year when global health enjoyed unprecedented public and political interest. The main task before us now is to keep the momentum and make sure that politicians, economists, decision-makers at all levels and the society at large don’t forget why we need a stable health system, a satisfied workforce and fair access to treatment and care for everyone, everywhere, regardless of origin and social status. We must leave no disease neglected and put our best efforts for those who need us most.

This year we created a global movement for World Heart Day, which we started already in April, right after the pandemic entered our lives. Called simply USEHEART, our major public event was about using our influence, compassion and network to inspire better choices for society, our loved ones, and ourselves. We use our hearts to beat CVD, and we do this every single day. We want to express our personal gratitude to our Members, Partners, the global cardiovascular community and the WHF staff and Board for their support, innovative ways of thinking, flexibility and passion which empower us to continue our mission to achieve cardiovascular health for all.

We approach the end of 2020 more motivated than ever to connect, lead, and inspire change for the successful prevention and equal treatment of cardiovascular disease in every corner of the world. We look forward to what 2021 will bring and hope that our joint actions will result in stronger health systems and healthier hearts.

With our very best wishes,

Prof Karen Sliwa, President, World Heart Federation
Jean-Luc Eiselé, CEO, World Heart Federation